Real Madrid yet to contact Belgium's Roberto Martinez over manager's job
Real Madrid are yet to make an official approach for Roberto Martinez, a spokesperson for the Belgian Football Association has told ESPN FC, but they have not ruled out the possibility of releasing the coach should he want to replace Julen Lopetegui at the Bernabeu.
Madrid sacked Lopetegui as coach after six defeats in the opening 12 games of the season, culminating in Sunday's 5-1 Clasico defeat at Barcelona. Santi Solari has been promoted from coach of Madrid's Castilla youth team on an interim basis, although Madrid president Florentino Perez could still appoint a more experienced permanent first team coach.
One of those linked with the job has been Martinez, who has impressed in guiding Belgium to third place at this summer's World Cup and top spot in the FIFA world rankings, but as yet there has been no request from Madrid to begin negotiations.
"So far Real Madrid have not been in contact with the Belgian FA," they said. "If they should be interested they should contact the Belgium FA and ask permission to start negotiations. That has not been the case so far."
Belgium's spokesperson did not comment on whether Martinez himself was open to the possibility of taking charge at Madrid, but did recall what the coach said last summer about speculation that he could be a candidate to replace Zinedine Zidane at the Bernabeu.
"Roberto says the same as we do, he did so in the summer when there was similar talk," the spokesperson said. "He is under contract until 2020, so anybody interested should talk to the federation. At the moment it is nothing but speculation, as nobody has made any contact with us."
At his first news conference as interim Madrid coach Solari appeared very confident and suggested he would like to remain in the role long term.
Former Chelsea, Italy and Juventus manager Antonio Conte had been reportedly set to be appointed at the Bernabeu earlier this week, before talks with the club's hierarchy broke down.